Indian Wells, California: Rafael Nadal reached the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday, beating Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-4 to stay on track for a shot at his fourth career title in the desert.
Nadal next plays sixth-seeded Milos Raonic, who defeated 17th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-2 in a fourth-round match.
Nadal served a love game to close out his match that began as a dust storm swirled outside the stadium under overcast skies. He connected on 70 percent of his first serves in beating Simon for the seventh time in eight meetings.
Andy Murray defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-3 for his 496th career match victory. He tied countryman Tim Henman's record as Britain's most successful player in the Open era.
Murray set up a quarterfinal against 12th-seeded Feliciano Lopez, who upset No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
"I really had one bad game at 5-4," Nishikori said. "Until then I was playing better. I was dominating the strokes. He was hitting good serves, but I had all the chances."
Three former Indian Wells winners were in action later: Three-time champion Novak Djokovic, four-time winner Roger Federer, and two-time winner Serena Williams, who is back in the desert for the first time after ending her 14-year boycott.
Williams brought a 14-match winning streak into her quarterfinal against Timea Bacsinszky, who has won 15 matches in a row. Bacsinszky's 21-2 match record leads the WTA Tour this year.
Third-seeded Simona Halep rallied to beat No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 and will face either Williams or Bacsinszky in the semifinals.
Halep trailed 4-0 in the first set and said she was nervous to start the match.
"Then I changed my tactic a little bit just to play more into the court and to play more aggressive, to open the court more, and to take the ball very fast," she said. "I wanted to try just to make her run a lot because I know that she's moving well and she's hitting really well close to the body. So I tried just to open the court and to finish the points very quickly."
Murray broke Mannarino twice in the second set and closed it out on his second match point when Mannarino netted a backhand. Murray remains on track for a potential semifinal against Djokovic, who beat the Brit in the Australian Open final in January.
"I made it difficult for my opponents in all of my matches. That's important," Murray said. "I haven't given up too many free points. I have been hitting the ball quite heavy from the back of the court, so it's not been easy for my opponents to attack, which has been good."
Mannarino hadn't dropped a set in three previous matches here. The Frenchman took out 19th-seeded Fabio Fognini and No. 14 Ernests Gulbis before getting stopped by Murray in 1 1/2 hours.
Lopez reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells for the first time in 13 tries, needing just two sets to beat Nishikori after being stretched to three in his first two matches.
No. 9 Tomas Berdych made the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over No. 27 Lukas Rosol in all-Czech match. Berdych hasn't lost to a fellow countryman in nine years.
The unusually hot temperatures that marked the tournament's first week cooled to 81 degrees (27 Celsius) Wednesday.